Killarney’s ban on single-use coffee cups will make reusable coffee cups as common as plastic shopping bags, according to one local.
Killarney became the first town in Ireland to only allow reusable coffee cups in most shops in July.
Some 25 independent coffee shops and 21 hotels signed on to the Killarney Coffee Cup Project.
Consumers can purchase a reusable 2GoCup for €2, which is refundable when the cup is returned at any of the participating hotels or cafés.
Just over two weeks into the new endeavour, reporter Josh Crosbie spoke to locals on Newstalk Breakfast about removing single-use waste from their daily coffee fix.
One local said the project is “working out really well” for all involved.
“When it started, you might forget [the reusable cup] the odd time or you’d leave it in the car,” she said.
“But it’s like plastic bags – you get into the habit [and] now I’ve got a coffee cup everywhere I go.”
'It's taken a bit of learning'
Café Lir Owner Alan Oliver said the waste-free initiative has created a strong sense of community in Killarney.
“We've even had some of the older generation come in, who wouldn't actually drink coffee, just to buy the cup to support the project,” he said.
“It’s taken a bit of learning, but if you think back, no longer do we see plastic bags hanging in a torn bush on the side of the road [like] the national flag of Ireland.
“Maybe the whole idea of having the paper cups sitting in the ditch on the side of the road is going to be by the wayside as well.”
— The Gleneagle Hotel (@GleneagleHotel) July 12, 2023
As a common tourist destination, Mr Oliver explained many who visit Killarney are initially surprised by the single-use ban.
“First off, especially the US market, they kind of discount it a little bit, they push it off,” he said.
“But then we explain why we’re doing it.”
It was previously estimated by the Killarney Coffee Cup Project the town disposed of 23,000 single-use cups every week – or 18.5 tonnes of waste annually.
Today is the day…
We are delighted to announce our participation in the Killarney Coffee Cup Project, which will see over 45 business completely ditch their single-use cups and swap them for our reusable 2GoCups! pic.twitter.com/F9pp4fKLUB
— 2GoCup (@2GoCup_org) July 11, 2023
Kerry County Council Operative Gavin Gardiner told Josh the project has significantly reduced the amount of waste seen in bins.
“Coffee cups have reduced dramatically,” he said. “Maybe 50 to 70%, maybe even more some days.
“It's totally gone down and it's great to see it.”
'The collective is key'
Killarney Park and Ross Hotel Sustainability Manager Louise Byrne said other towns in Ireland should consider the same initiative.
“Businesses are getting really engaged from the get-go,” she said.
“[Towns should] start with gathering everybody and looking at your data of what [waste] you have. It matters that everybody gets involved.
“The collective is really key here.”
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